Guess it starts when Lady had five new puppies, born New Year’s Eve, 1992 in my Walnut Creek, CA bedroom. Bo was next to last and Dew, little sister, followed about 50 minutes later. Interesting that when I look at all those photos of that litter, and I made the local camera shop rich, how often Bo and Dew are together…..and of course stayed that way as my two keepers.
Lady was an excellent mom to her pups but, as with most moms, the pups occasionally got on her nerves. Until her puppies were born Lady always slept on my bed but for the first week or so she rarely left the whelping box, nursing puppies whenever they wanted and that was, of course, often. Lady had always been a picky eater, but now wolfed down food like there was no tomorrow but all the calories eventually ended up in the pups so she didn't gain weight, but they did at an amazing rate! When the pups were about a week old I was surprised by Lady jumping up on the bed and sleeping in her usual spot......until the first little whimper from a pup.....then she shot off the bed to see they were properly fed and cleaned; then I noticed there were gradually longer and longer periods of whimpering before she'd go see to the pups needs. Finally, I think she was timing it......she'd wait 'til I was about two seconds short of shot putting her from the bed to the whelping box....."Go shut those damn kids of your up so I can get back to sleep!"
When the five pups were about six weeks old, I moved them from the whelping box in my bedroom to a 5’ X 5’ puppy pen in the area between the dining and living rooms; and I’d let them out occasionally to run around those rooms. Bo was always the first to try something; first to climb on the sofa; first to climb the stairs, at the top of which he sat and cried pitifully as he looked back down and realized how scary the trip down would be! Well, of course I went up and carried him down only to watch him do it again! This time I gently helped him down, step by step ‘til he realized he could do it alone as I held my breath for fear he’d tumble. Well, Dew was always the second to try something and sure enough, there she went up the stairs only to repeat Bo’s crying act with the same results! To give you some clue as to Basenjis’ cleanliness, the puppy pen was sitting on a seven foot square of linoleum remnant, with newspapers spread on it except for a kennel heating pad in one corner where they did their sleeping. Not once did they soil the towels that covered the heating pad, always using the newspaper which I gradually reduced to a strip along one side of the pen. The newspaper also covered the area of linoleum that was outside the puppy pen and, when loose in the area, they almost always returned to that strip of newspaper to relieve themselves!
Well, as the others left, my “Hooligans” as Bo and Dew were known, took over the house. They were called the Hooligans because they played ROUGH! They’d play fight slamming into walls and furniture until you’d expect to see blood spurting and bones sticking through skin! But never a mark was left on either of them. I had a dog door in my kitchen door which led the length of the kitchen before turning right into the dining room. One morning Dew came tearing through the dog door, running the length of the kitchen and making the turn into the dining room with Bo hot on her tail….except Bo didn’t quite make the turn; he lost his traction on the floor and slammed into a panel door covering my washer and dryer and cracked it. Didn’t phase him, he just shook it off and continued his pursuit of “Little Sister”! While the Hooligans were slamming each other around, Lady, their poor mother, whose name certainly fit, looked on with trepidation…..”Please God….don’t let them run over me!”
Dew loved to start the fireworks with Bo, but because of his size, he’d wear her down and she’d be ready to quit before him. One trick was for Dew to jump into my lap while I’d fend Bo off with hands and feet as he lunged trying to get at her…..and I swear she’d sit there sticking her tongue out at him, “Nyah, Nyah, Nyah, Daddy’s not gonna let you get me!”
Chasing Dew was a favorite pastime of Bo’s and getting him to do the chasing was Dew’s. I had a grooming table set up against the wall in the dining room with legs like this: [ but turned ¼ turn clockwise. Dew would run through the legs with Bo right behind her…..until the day Bo’s head went “BONK!” He’d grown enough bigger than Dew that, while she could run unhindered through the legs, his head hit the crossbar….and it took my poor boy several “BONKS!” before he finally realized, “Hey, guess I’d better go around!”
Then there’s the morning I thought I’d traumatized Bo for life! My house in Walnut Creek had a half bath down stairs……a VERY SMALL half bath! One morning when Bo was about six months old, I had to go to the store, but first used that downstairs bathroom. Finished what I had to do, turned off the light, shut the door and went to the store. Was gone about twenty minutes and as I came in the back gate Dew and Lady came out the dog door to meet me……no Bo! Walked into the kitchen to hear a mournful wail coming from the front of the house and found Bo had been shut in that small bathroom. He obviously had been in there, small as it was, when I left and gone unnoticed! Well, in the dark he somehow ended up biting the intake hose to the toilet….not all the way through, but enough to cause a steady stream of water that now was about a half inch deep. After turning off the water valve, my first concern was Bo….no broken teeth, but I figured he was traumatized for life and wouldn’t go near that bathroom ever again! Cleaned him up…you’ll see why in a minute……and sent him outside while I cleaned up the mess; and mess it was! Bo hadn’t relieved himself that morning….until he was locked in a small dark bathroom being sprayed with cold water; and he’d torn an almost full roll of toilet paper off the roller and it too was spread among the wet and very nasty, smelly mess! I cleaned up the bathroom and headed for the hardware store to get a new intake hose. I’m on my back, with my legs out the door ‘cause the room’s too small to get my whole body in, replacing the intake hose and Bo, who I thought was so traumatized he’d never go near that bathroom again, is in my face….”Whatya doin’ dad? Huh? Huh? Can I help?” So much for trauma!
In Walnut Creek, we lived in a two story townhouse with a 20’ X 20’ patio. Patio had planting strips running along the fence and both sides and I had two foot high picket fences to keep the ‘senjis out of the plants; they were pretty good about it considering it’s no challenge whatsoever for a Basenji to hop over a two foot fence. At any rate, with the dog door, all three pups relieved themselves on the cement portion of the patio between walks. I could easily tell Bo’s pee from that of Lady and Dew; Lady and Dew Squatted very low leaving nice round puddles; Bo didn’t squat very much, so his pee was splattered. Well, Bo did NOT like peeing on the patio! It splattered his legs and he’d spend five minutes cleaning him self. (And then come in to probably offer me a kiss!) Well, one day I realized I hadn’t seen any pee splatters lately! I figured Bo must be hopping the little fences and going in the planting strips, so I kept an eye out; finally caught him in the act……not peeing in the planting strips, but hopping up on the air conditioner and peeing into it! The louvered vents on top directed his urine into the air conditioning unit with no splattering! When I told Pat Fragassi of Tanza Basenjis she said it was the funniest thing she’d ever heard! I told her to wait, it was gonna get even funnier: As soon as nice spring weather came along I was going to invite the whole Basenji Club over for a patio party and turn on the AC right in the middle of it! As Red Skelton used to say, “I’m a baaaaaad boy”
As most folks know, Basenjis absolutely hate getting wet. We were at a dog show at Lane County Fairgrounds in Eugene, Oregon and it’d been raining most of the time. The area where we walked dogs was across a very flat road with little drainage so there were many puddles, a fact that upset most of the curly tailed crew. Well, I walked Bo across and he just trotted straight ahead not bothered at all that he had to wade through a few one to two inch deep puddles; I brought Lady out and I swear, the most delicate scientific instrument couldn’t have found a drier course across that street, weaving around every puddle. Then it was Dew’s turn…..She charged ahead just like Bo had until she realized she was standing in a two inch puddle of water and stopped dead in her tracks. Ever see a dog try and lift all four feet at the same time? Hard as she tried, levitation was not one of her skills! And once through the puddles I got the look that said, “Dammit dad, this is your entire fault as usual!”
Further on the water front, was Lady and The Hooligans reaction to my taking a shower; Lady, who had been bathed in the shower a few times and knew what happened in there, would actually try and nip at my heels to keep me from going in. “Don’t go in there dad! It’s dangerous! You know water can make you melt!” Dew pretty much ignored the issue as did Bo until I moved to Arizona. I have a large walk in shower here with sliding doors. Well, all three pups would usually be hanging around my bedroom while I was brushing my teeth, shaving, etc. Since there’s no door to shut between the master bedroom and the master bathroom, there was no way to keep them out. Bo would wait ‘til he heard the click of my eyeglasses as I took them off and laid them on the counter, then he’d rush into the bathroom and stand right in front of the sliding glass shower door. If I delayed opening the door, he stand on his hind legs and, with his two front paws together, wave them repeatedly at the door, a move that seems to be uniquely Basenji! Well, I’d finally slide the door open and Bo would rush halfway in and stop. It seemed clear that whatever odor was coming from the drain had piqued Bo’s curiosity and he wanted to check it out or, worse, roll in it! But he also knew that water was going to be coming from that dreaded shower head so he stand there half in, half out staring back and forth from the drain to the shower head in a pose of total frustration! Of course, once I turned on the water he was out of there like a shot!
Well, Lady’s joined Star as has Bo and Strider, a rescue Basenji I was fortunate to love and be loved by for about five months earlier this year before he was hit and killed by a truck while we were traveling in Idaho. Dew’s probably going to be joining them soon as she almost certainly has the same cancer that took Lady and Bo and, despite all the medications, she's showing signs of losing her appetite just as they did their last weeks. Life will go on and Basenjis will continue to be a major part of mine.
Sometime in the near future it’s almost certain, Rich, Ch. Glemyr Adieu to Mullins, will be making his home here with me in The Wonderful Land of AZ. This is thanks to Myrl and Glenda Galdeen of Glemyr Basenjis and their wonderfully kind offer to allow Rich help fill the void left by the loss of Lady, the ‘senji Hooligans and Strider. And to keep Rich and me in line, Rich and I will quickly be looking for a little rescue girl Basenji to join us.
The spirit, love and devotion of all my curly tails of the past twenty-five plus years will always be with me. Having Star, Lady, Bo, Strider and Dew, who is still with me, share their lives with me has made my life richer beyond all measure. I will always love them and miss them but treasure their memory in my heart.
Update March 5, 2004
Dew joined her brother, mother, Star and Strider November 1, 2003. I had hoped to get her through the end of the year and her eleventh birthday but by mid October it was clear that she wasn't going to make it. While visiting Linda, John and Grandson Christopher over the Thanksgiving Holiday I scattered her ashes together with Bo's and Strider's under the lone oak in the foothills of Mt. Diablo where she, Lady, Star and Bo had loved to run when we lived in Walnut Creek.
That November night, after sending Dew off to the Rainbow Bridge, was the loneliest night I can remember and I really needed a curly tail to get me through life; I phoned Myrl and Glenda and asked if I could come get Rich and they told me, "Come on, he's waiting for you!" I left that next morning for Saginaw Michigan and the 'senji boy that would make my life whole once again, bringing back the smiles and laughter that had been missing for so long.
Rich loves to play, play, play, but when the time comes to sit and relax he turns into the worlds greatest lap lover; I have to be careful 'cause a couple of times he's jumped into my lap catching me by surprise and his head has given me a fat lip. Thinking of taking him to Hollywood and presenting him as a cheaper alternative to Botox!That he's bonded to me so strongly is somewhat of a surprise considering, without realizing it at the time, I had him neutered on his sixth birthday! And since then none of my friends will tell me when their birthdays are!
There are no words to express my deep gratitude to the Galdeens for this wonderful boy. All I can do is give him all the love and affection I have for our crazy breed of dogs.....and I have tons to give!
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